Author: Ellen Lupton

Image features a brochure with a diagram of the overall menstrual cycle on the front cover in pink, red, yellow, white, and black against a black background. White numbers representing days of the month are arranged in a circle, and different types of moons appear in white in the four corners. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Herbert Bayer, Master of the Universe
Herbert Bayer is known for his work as a student and teacher at the Bauhaus, the famous German art school that integrated art, design, and daily life. During Bayer’s formative years at the Bauhaus (1921–1928), he helped create the modern discipline of graphic design by using photography, type, and geometric systems to promote products and...
Jennifer Morla: Experimental Typography
In celebration of the milestone 20th anniversary of the National Design Awards, this week’s Object of The Day posts honor National Design Award winners. What does “typography” mean to you? Does the word stir up contempt for Comic Sans and Papyrus, or does it conjure a death match between Times New Roman and Helvetica? For...
Image features the poster for "Day Without Art" to honor artists who died of AIDS. Reproduction of ink and paper drawing of Darrel Ellis' "Self Portrait" at top half. Image of African-American young man with hands clasped in front. Across top, "We're all one human being,/really./ - Darrell Ellis (died of AIDS in 1992)/ (Source: Interview with David Hirsh)" (in red). Written biography of Ellis and information about this day such as date, purpose, and sponsors below in red. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Darrel Ellis: Human Touch
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. This poster, published by Visual AIDS in 1994, features a painting by Darrel Ellis (1958–1992), an African-American artist who created photographs, paintings, and mixed media sculptures. Many of his paintings are based on photographs, including family...
Image features a light orange book cover showing the title, GEEK LOVE, in black hand-lettered capital letters at top, the words overlapping their mirrored images in dark orange. Printed below the title, in black capital letters: A NOVEL / KATHERINE DUNN. At the left edge, hand-lettered text repeats the title and author's name on the spine. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Book Geek
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. What does it take to design a great book cover? An avid taste for literature surely helps, and so does an eccentric eye for images and type. Chip Kidd (American, b. 1964) has designed some of...
Image features a square poster printed in black and white on a blue background, showing a circle within a ring. The circle contains the image of an eye, with the following text in the pupil: WAC women's action coalition. The black ring contains text in white: WAC IS WATCHING WOMEN TAKE ACTION. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Women’s Action is Women’s Power
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. This post originally appeared  on June 15, 2015. Founded in 1992, the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) staged public demonstrations or “actions” to raise the visibility of women in art, culture, and society. The organization was founded in response to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill congressional hearings, which riveted...
A museum gallery is filled with large, undulating partitions composed of colorful threads. Through the nearest partition, a man can be seen leaning forward to smell scented objects housed in glass domes. A sign on this partition reads "Inclusive Environments".
The Senses: Descriptive Audio Tour
Ellen Lupton, co-curator of the exhibition The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, provides a descriptive audio tour through two dozen projects in the exhibition, with step-by-step guidance for visitors with blindness or low vision. Approximately 30 minutes. Part 1: Getting Started Part 2: Shaping Sound Part 3: Tactile Library Part 4: Wrapping Up (Also available on Soundcloud)....
Cooper Hewitt Takes on Verbal Description
Cooper Hewitt’s exhibition The Senses: Design Beyond Vision (April 13–October 28, 2018) is one of our museum’s early explorations in developing exhibition design that is accessible to all visitors, including people with sensory differences. Many museums do a good job making their facilities wheelchair-accessible and meeting basic ADA requirements, but it’s another matter to offer...
a still image from Synesthetic Calculus, a 2012 film by David Genco. The number 4 in orange is repeated against a muted, multicolored abstract background.
Why sensory design?
Read the introduction to the exhibition book for The Senses: Design Beyond Vision.
Photograph of Ivan Chermayeff
In memoriam: Ivan Chermayeff
Ivan Chermayeff (June 6, 1932 – December 2, 2017) was a brilliant designer, a gifted artist, and the purveyor of a unique visual language. Launching his career at a time when modern graphic design was just taking flight, he quickly became one of the field’s most influential voices. Born in London in 1932, he moved...